My childhood ultimate comfort food is this Baked Fettuccine Casserole with feta cheese, milk, eggs and butter. What can be more comforting than that? It’s basically like a baked mac and cheese, but with Mediterranean flavors.
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Baked Fettuccine with Feta Cheese
This baked fettuccine casserole with feta cheese, milk, eggs and butter is called Pastiço in my native country. Other countries have variations of this pasta bake called pasticho, pastitsio, pastiçe etc. I’ve noticed that these other variations have meat and other ingredients, while the Albanian version is very simple. It has few ingredients and it is easy to bake. This dish definitely brings back memories for me.
While back in my native country, we usually serve this fettuccine casserole for lunch, my kids like to have the leftovers for breakfast. That’s a new one to me but I do understand why. All the cheese and eggs make it yummy:)
We love having this casserole with Chicken Lemon Soup as a starter.
Pastiço Recipe Notes
While this is an Albanian recipe, the ingredients are easy to find anywhere. Plus, everyone that has ever tried this recipe at my house has asked for the recipe. Easy & simple recipes are always the favorites.
Here are some recipe notes that might help you while cooking this Mediterranean pasta casserole.
- You can use fettuccine or spaghetti to make this casserole.
- I usually eye-ball the ingredients and always, always add more feta cheese than the recipe calls for. So I go slow on salt because feta has enough.
- You can refrigerate the leftovers for next day. Honestly, this has never lasted more than 2 days in my house. We never freeze this casserole, it’s best when consumed fresh.
- Once you bake it, you have to let it sit for a little bit in order to cut it in square pieces. If you start cutting when it is still hot, the pasta might come apart.
- Bechamel or no bechamel: Feel free to cover the top of the casserole with a bechamel sauce. It will make the crust smoother. I like the stray pieces of fettuccine sticking out, they get a bit crunchy from baking. To me that’s perfect. But if you don’t like the un-even crunch on top, add bechamel to the baking dish for a smooth top.
While this dish is the ultimate comfort food, I would still like to mention that it’s full of calories and carbs:). Back when I used to eat this dish often, I used to also walk about 1.5-2 hrs a day. It’s a different lifestyle that includes a lot of walking, so I guess it was easier to burn all these calories. Right now this dish is more of a treat and when I crave food from back home.
Here’s a pictures of ingredients before I started cooking.
Baked Fettuccine Casserole With Feta Cheese (Pastiço)
- 1.5 lb fettuccine (about 1.5 standard packets)
- 2 cups milk
- 1 stick butter (about 8 tbsps)
- 6 eggs
- 3 ozs parmesan cheese
- pinch salt (optional)
- 0.75 lbs feta cheese
- pinch black pepper
- Boil water with a bit of salt. Throw fettuccine in and stir so they don't stick. I usually add a tsp of olive oil or butter to the boiling water to prevent the pasta from sticking. Boil for about half of the time indicated in the box, usually 6-8 minutes instead of the regular 12-14 minutes.
- Turn oven on at 380 degrees Fahrenheit (about 190 degrees Celsius) so it can pre-heat.
- Melt about 1 tbsp of the butter and coat the bottom of the baking dish.
- Once the pasta has cooked for 6-8 minutes, drain the water and pour pasta in the baking dish. Arrange so it fills the dish evenly. I used a 9×13 baking dish.
- Crumble the feta cheese and spread with a fork in between pasta and over. Cube the butter and repeat. Pasta is still warm enough that butter will start melting slowly.
- Whisk eggs and then add the milk, keep whisking for a minute or so. Then pour this mix over the pasta. Use the fork to move the pasta slowly so the egg/milk sauce can set in evenly.
- Bake for about 30 minutes. If the top is getting too crispy, lower the dish to the bottom rack or cover with an aluminum foil. I personally like a little bit of crisp on top so I don't cover it.
- Add bechamel sauce (instructions not included) if you don't like a crispy top.
- Sprinkle with parmesan cheese about 2 minutes before you'll turn oven off.
- Once casserole is baked, let it cool for about 15 minutes before you cut it in square pieces. Serve warm!
- I would like to add a note on the eggs. It’s preferred to use eggs from pasture raised chickens for this dish. Those eggs have a bright orange egg yolk compared to an opaque yellow from regular eggs. The deep orange color gives a more appealing look to this casserole.
- I use a lot of feta cheese so I add very little salt to this dish since feta cheese is already very salty. Adjust salt accordingly.
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Other Albanian Recipes:
Please see below several of my other Albanian recipes: